The village of Scotia should have by January the final plans to redesign the Route 5 – Mohawk Avenue downtown corridor from North Reynolds Street to the Western Gateway Bridge.
On Thursday evening the village and MJ Engineering, which was hired for $60,000 to develop the plan, presented to the public what information the group currently knows about the intersection and solicited feedback from residents on traffic flow in the area and what they might want to see happen to the street.
Mayor Tom Gifford said the village began working on the plan in 2019 with the Capital District Transportation Committee.
“We’re so happy it’s moving along,” he said. “We know these take a long time, but having the opportunity for federal funding is going to be marvelous.”
The study and subsequent plan is the first step to getting that federal funding, said Andrew Tracy, a senior transportation engineer with the CDTC.
“We can’t just go out there and build something tomorrow, we have to ensure that we all agree on a good concept plan for what we’d like to see built on Mohawk Ave before we begin,” he said.
But to better understand what the village would like to see happen with the street, the engineering firm wants to hear from residents about what they’d like to see change.
Throughout the presentation Thursday evening Lisa Wallin, the senior project engineer, stopped and had the 23 people on the zoom meeting participate in questionnaires, such as whether people biked along Mohawk Avenue.
In response, most people said it was not safe to bike along Mohawk Avenue.
After the presentation was over Gifford pointed out he doesn’t bike along Mohawk Avenue.
“I used to ride to work in Schenectady every day and I would never take Mohawk Avenue because you can drop down to Glen Avenue and be safe,” Gifford said. “The only people you count (biking) on Mohawk Avenue are from out of town.”
Other questions concerned whether people would be willing to give up street parking in order to implement some changes like a bike lane or pull off spots for buses to pick up and drop off people.
Wallin also let residents know how many cars travel through certain areas of the road. Data showed:
- Along Mohawk Avenue from Interstate 890 to Route 147 — 4,540 cars traveled that area a day.
- Along Mohawk Avenue from Route 50 to Route 147 — 12,232 vehicles traveled that stretch of road per day.
- Along Mohawk Avenue from the Western Gateway to Route 50 — 23,265 vehicles traveled that road each day.
However, while a number of cars flow through the area on any given day between January 2016 and December 2020 there have only been seven recorded accidents, including one fatality.
Wallin said all of this data contributes to what changes the village may want to implement, such as more crosswalks, signage or crossing lights.
During the question and answer portion of the meeting resident George Baranauskas wrote in the chat that crossing between Route 5 and Route 147 is a “disaster.”
“I think it’s funny crosswalks and signals are at Sunnyside Road and Freeman’s Bridge but nothing like that here in Scotia,” he said.
The engineering group is planning to have a pop-up table event in October with a date and location to be announced. The workshop on the project is expected to happen in November, with no exact date set yet.
“This is truly an opportunity for us to imagine and work toward a village plan for pedestrian and bike safety and to address some of the concerns that have come up over time,” said village board member Justin Cook.
People can find out more information on the project by visiting https://www.scotiaconnections.com/about.